Tue, 09 Mar 2021

Pune (Maharashtra) [India], January 22 (ANI): An investigation is currently underway to find the cause and other details of the fire that broke out at the Serum Institute of India's (SII) facility in Pune on Thursday, confirmed Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday.

"An inquiry is currently being conducted. Until the investigation report comes in, we cannot come to any conclusions," Thackeray said while addressing a press conference here.

"News came that a fire broke out at the institute but fortunately, the site where the vaccine is being manufactured and stored has not been affected. I am informed by Adar and Cyrus (Poonawalla) that the COVID-19 vaccine is manufactured at a distance from the fire site," he added.

The chief minister further said while SII had taken the responsibility for the victims' families, the government would provide other help if needed.

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla confirmed that the supply of COVID-19 vaccines has not been affected due to the fire as no actual vaccines were being made at that facility.

"We were lucky that the incident happened in a different building. The extent of the financial damage is more than Rs 1,000 crores. The fire has no impact on the production of the Covishield vaccine and no damage has occured to the existing stock either," he added.

Poonawalla expressed his gratitude to the Chief Minister on Twitter for visiting SII plant and extending help during the 'terrible crisis'.

"Thank you Shri Uddhav Ji and @AUThackeray (Aaditya Thackeray) for visiting @SerumInstIndia and extending your help and support during this terrible crisis. As you have seen, the production of COVISHIELD is on schedule and remains unaffected by this tragedy," he tweeted.

Earlier on Thursday, a fire had broken out at SII's Manjari plant, claiming the lives of five people. Six people were rescued from an under-construction building. Hours later, another fire broke out again in one of the compartments of the building at SII.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said the initial fire was caused by ongoing welding work at the site.

The SII had on Thursday announced a compensation of Rs 25 lakhs to the families of the people who died in the fire incident at the company's facility at Manjari. (ANI)

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